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Early Child Development

11 Truths About Two-Year-Olds

The twos aren’t terrible….just filled with epic meltdowns, a lot of questions, and “I luff yous” that will melt your heart

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Truth: The twos really aren’t so terrible. At two, your kiddo can carry a conversation (sort of), can be hilarious (however unintentional), and will start to show glimpses of her emerging personality (and desire to climb just about everything). Of course, there will be challenges, too, and while this may be only one mom’s opinion, here are 11 truths about two-year-olds.

1. A quiet two-year-old is rarely a good thing. Sure, sometimes you’ll find him sitting silently looking at a book, but more often than not, when you don’t hear your kiddo making any noise, chances are he’s getting into something he shouldn’t, like your makeup, vintage album collection, or the chicken thawing on the counter for dinner.

2. The meltdowns will be epic. Your child is at that developmental stage where she’s exploring the world like never before, and likely will react with screaming and tears when you tell her, no, she can’t play with the knobs on the gas range in your kitchen. During truly terrible meltdowns (which somehow always happen in public), your kid will turn her entire body into a wet noodle, making it impossible to pick her up or put her in the stroller.

3. Naptime will be a blessing and a curse. Two—sometimes three!—hours of time to yourself during daylight? Absolute bliss. But if you kiddo misses these precious Zs? The whole day can fall apart thanks to a super-cranky toddler. Naptime will soon become the thing your to-do list, weekend activities, and frankly, life, revolves around.

4. They will imitate everything you do. It could be as heartwarming as a certain kind gesture or as gasp-inducing as an appropriately-used swear. Your two-year-old is watching you like a private investigator, taking notes and mental pictures on everything you do and say. You’ve been warned!

5. They start to use their words. You will wake up one day and it may seem like your two-year-old stayed up late memorizing the dictionary. He’ll start to use two-word sentences, and you may not even have to spend adult get-togethers acting as a toddler translator for friends and family, At the same time, you’ll find yourself mourning the loss of the adorable use of words like “clocklate.”

6. “What’s dis?” Yes, a two-year-old questioning everything is a real thing. Sometimes the answer is easy, like the first time she sees a llama at the zoo; other times, not so much, like when you try to explain why you can’t just pluck the moon out of the sky like in Eric Carle’s Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me.

7. Playdates may not be what you expect. At this age, your kid may be more interested in his train set than the little friend you invited over for the afternoon. He’s engaging in “parallel play,” where children barely acknowledge each other, with one occupied in the toy kitchen while the other camps out with stuffed animals in the teepee. And it’s fine.

8. Potty training can be unpredictable. You may never find him acting so manic as during toilet training. Or maybe it will be a breeze. That’s the thing about potty training: you just never know. One day he’ll willingly go on the potty, and the next he’ll go running like you’re trying to take away a cupcake. But rest assured, at some point he’ll be ready to start.

9. Stickers may save the day. There will be moments when stickers are the only object that holds your toddler’s attention. No one knows why.

10. Going to bed will be a battle. When you transition to the big-kid bed, your kiddo may try every trick in the book to get out of bed no matter how well prepared you are. Or she may start to wander out of bed, long after bedtime. It’s sweet, really, the first 15 or 16 times you roll over in your own bed one night to find a small face staring at you. Then it’s exhausting.

11. Nothing is sweeter than their “I luff yous.” Of everything that comes out of your two-year-old’s mouth, you’ll melt each and every time they utter those three little words. Pronunciation will vary from “lerve” to “lave,” but no matter how they say they it, your heart is guaranteed to swell.